Saturday, June 21, 2014

Military Occupational Specialty 5534

 Robert, the rookie clarinetist, practices in the kitchen in Lake Isabella. He was in seventh grade, and didn't even have a music stand at that point.
PFC Robert Ranzenberger has come a long way from the band room at West Intermediate School. This week, he began his formal training at the U.S. Navy School of Music in Virginia Beach, Va., for his Marine Military Occupational Specialty 5534 - Musician-Clarinet.
It's not easy to get that MOS. Eight years of playing clarinet in junior high, high school and college, two years as a drum major of the Mount Pleasant Oiler Marching Band, two more years playing with the CMU Marching Chippewas, qualified him to go through multiple auditions before learning he had been accepted.
Then he had to become a Marine. Thirteen weeks of boot camp - the longest and toughest in the military, followed by Marine Combat Training. Every Marine is a rifleman, and each of the Marine bands also is a rifle platoon. PFC Ranzenberger is rated "expert," and says he loves to shoot the M16A4.
Now, he'll undergo another 30 weeks of intense music training at the Navy's music school, preparing him to perform in a variety of different ensembles and genres. Eventually, he's likely to end up in one of the 10 Marine bands stationed around the United States and the Pacific.
He's got the passion for it. I saw the same passion for music in Robert that I saw in myself for journalism - and rock'n'roll. He's taking a very different path, but it's the right one for him. Semper Fi. 

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